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Navy: F-35 Fighters Caused Sonic Booms Felt Along Connecticut Coast

The F-35C Lightning II in action.
The F-35C Lightning II in action. Video Credit: AIRBOYD

The sonic boom that rattled windows and led many people from Connecticut to New Jersey to believe there was an earthquake was caused by U.S. Navy test flights and maneuvers by F-35 strike fighters, the government said.

Residents along the Connecticut shoreline reported feeling the tremors on Thursday afternoon.

"House rumbled and windows creaked noisily in Fairfield, CT," said ggal ‏via Twitter @ggal67.

Sean Ireland via Twitter ‏@irelandspi said, "I felt house shaking few times the past hour. Norwalk, CT."

But it was actually aircraft from the Naval Air Station in Patuxent River in Maryland. They "were conducting routine flight testing in the Atlantic Test Ranges ... that included activities which may have resulted in sonic booms," said the 177th Fighter Wing in Egg Harbor Township, N.J.

Objects traveling through the air faster than the 768 mph compress sound waves that cause explosion-like sounds when they can't disperse fast enough. The F-35C being flown Thursday -- known as the Joint Strike Fighter -- have a top speed of 1,200 mph.

The supersonic test flights are conducted almost daily and most of the booms are never felt -- unless certain atmospheric conditions exist, the release issued by the Fighter Wing said.

"The test wing is critical to the safe test and evaluation of all types of Navy and Marine Corps aircraft in service and in development," it said.

The Naval Air Station in Patuxent has a "Noise Disturbance Hotline" for people who have questions about the operations.

It is staffed by a station representative weekdays during business hours. After hours and on weekends, the hotline is transferred to a recording in which callers are instructed to leave their name, contact information, and description and location of the disturbance.

A representative from NAS Patuxent River begins investigating reported noise events within one business day and follows up with callers as soon as possible.

The number is 1-866-819-9028.

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